The goal of the Burbank Garden Project was to transform an underused school area into an attractive garden for hands-on learning and exploration. The project engaged the entire school community and involved collaboration with key partners in landscape/garden design, planning, and installation. The Garden Classroom formally opened in June 2015.
Designed to complement Belmont’s K-4 curriculum, the Garden Classroom has a welcoming arbor and walking paths leading to a central patio. Perennial plantings create a butterfly garden and a woodland area has a fairy ring of stumps. There are raised beds with Colonial herbs, and a teepee trellis for climbing beans. A weather station was installed on the school roof, with weather data always available to classrooms
Teachers and students use the Garden Classroom for activities directly related to their grade-level curriculum. Kindergartners grow “magic” beanstalks and play imaginatively in the garden. First graders apply their studies of weather and life cycles, and tend the butterfly garden. Second graders experiment with planting different seeds in clear-sided planter boxes, and view the growing sprouts and roots. Students in third-grade plant and learn about herbs used for medicine and cooking in Colonial times, and fourth graders enrich their study of flower parts and pollination. Students also use the garden during classes, visiting the garden for nature-inspired compositions and projects.
Students are encouraged to explore and enjoy the garden, and are seen to treat it with great respect. Students and their families help to care for it by weeding, watering, and helping to add new plants each spring.